The Minnesota Zoo is another great place to go if you live in Minnesota or for that matter even if you are just visiting. Most Minnesotans still call it the “New Zoo” and we think of it as new but it has been around since May 1978! When it was first opened it was really state of the art and the hottest zoo around. Lucky for us they have kept it up very well and have constantly made renovations and added exhibits to keep it pretty much up to date! When it was first built it was really in almost a rural area as Apple Valley was still very rural, now the zoo, all 500 acres with over 4000 animals, is in the middle of a suburb. When it first opened it was one of the first zoos to really show animals in their habitats rather than strictly in cages.
The zoo is divided into 6 different areas which are accessible through walking trails and also a monorail system.
-The Wells Fargo Family Farm – farm animals that make up a petting zoo
-Discovery Bay – where the marine wildlife are housed
-The Tropics Trail – in indoor walking trail through tropical exhibits with birds and animals
-The Minnesota Trail – all animals that are native to Minnesota
-The Northern Trail – animals that are from the northern part of the world
-Russia’s Grizzly Coast – an indoor/outdoor exhibit featuring animals from Russia
Currently there is also a special exhibit called The Penguins of the African Coast which opened last July. The zoo also has the IMAX theater and an outdoor amphitheater.
This summer the zoo will be opening a Dinosaur exhibit, but this will only be open from the end of May through the beginning of September. The zoo is very good about always getting in new and exciting exhibits as well as renovating the existing exhibits.
There are several ways to visit the zoo, you can just go for the day, you can plan parties or functions or you can buy a membership. For anyone that is a zoo lover or that has children, the membership is a good deal as you get free parking and admission plus a variety of other perks.